Situated along the Connecticut River, the town of Middletown, Connecticut is located approximately fifteen miles from the city of Hartford and boasts numerous things for visitors to do who want to escape from the larger, bustling city.
Home to one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States, Wesleyan University, Middletown offers many attractions, including several cultural and historic attractions, along with state parks, scenic ranches, zipline adventures, and many other outdoor activities. The town is also home to museums, the arts, and great restaurants.
1. Kidcity Children's Museum
© Kidcity Children's Museum
The Kidcity Children’s Museum is made up of three floors offering all manner of imaginative play for children between the ages of one and seven, along with their families. Every exhibit at the museum is unique and handmade, created by Kidcity’s in-house artists who are passionate about inspiring playfulness in people of all ages. Exhibits include the Fishery, in which children can use pulley baskets and conveyors to bring in that day’s catch; the Middleshire, a tiny medieval village where children can construct a castle; and the Space Age Roadtrip, during which friendly aliens travel along Route 66.
119 Washington St, Middletown, CT 06457, Phone: 860-347-0495
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2. Wadsworth Falls State Park
The Wadsworth Falls State Park provides visitors with various trails for biking and hiking throughout the park, as well as a chance to enjoy a beautiful waterfall. Guests in the state park can also use the picnic area and the designated area for swimming. Visitors wanting to swim or have a picnic in Wadsworth Falls State Park should keep in mind that picnicking and swimming is not allowed around the Big Falls, as the area is meant for only short visits of people viewing the scenic waterfall. The falls can viewed by taking the path from the parking lot on Cherry Hill Road. More things to do in Connecticut
721 Wadsworth St, Middletown, CT 06457
3. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University
© Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut was established back in the year 1831 and is an energetic and diverse community for the liberal arts, a place where practical idealism and critical thinking go together. The 316-acre historic and beautiful New England campus provides a comfortable, collaborative, and intimate environment for learning that is supported by unique opportunities for research, cutting-edge facilities, and renowned faculty. Wesleyan University is a two-hour scenic drive from both the cities of Boston and New York City, nestled within the heart of the state of Connecticut and open for visitors to come and explore.
45 Wyllys Ave, Middletown, CT 06459, Phone: 860-685-2000
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4. Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center
The Empower Leadership Sports and Adventure Center is the only fully-guided zipline tours in southern New England. The adventure center has a number of thrilling outdoor adventures that visitors can choose from, such as scavenger hunts, compass, navigation, more than half a mile of ziplining, aerial adventures, combination adventures, and tree climbing. The Empower Leadership Sports and Adventure Center features 2,500 feet of zip lines, with many different options to choose from, including moonlight zipline tours, which are available monthly. The center offers exciting and memorable outdoor adventures experiences for visitors of all levels of experience.
2011 S Main St, Middletown, CT 06457, Phone: 860-638-4754
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5. Middletown, CT: General Mansfield House
© General Mansfield House
The General Mansfield House serves as the headquarters for the Middlesex County Historical Society and is of the few remaining residential structures standing along Main Street of Middletown, Connecticut. The historic house was constructed by Catherine and Samuel Livingston Mather in the year 1817. Their daughter, Louisa, married Joseph Mansfield. Generations of the family lived in the house until it became the society’s headquarters in 1959. The garden in the front features a formal herb garden, along with a border of fragrant lilacs during the spring. Behind the General Mansfield House is the Rose Garden with several different varieties.
151 Main St, Middletown, CT 06457, Phone: 860-346-0746
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6. Middletown CT tourism: Van Vleck Observatory
© Van Vleck Observatory
The Van Vleck Observatory is owned and operated by the Wesleyan University in Middletown, constructed back in 1914. The astronomical observatory is named for John M. Van Vleck, a former head professor for the university’s Department of Mathematics and Astronomy. The Van Vleck Observatory contains three telescopes. The 16-inch telescope and the 20-inch telescope are used during the public observation nights each week, which are open to the general public. The third telescope housed inside of the Van Vleck Observatory is a 24-inch Perkins Telescope, used mostly for research purposes. The Perkins Telescope is one of the New England region’s largest telescopes.
96 Foss Hill, Middletown, CT 06459, Phone: 860-685-2130
ARTFARM is a non-profit, independent organization that was established in 2001. The arts organization is committed to producing high quality theater performances with a commitment as well to social action, environmental sustainability, and simple living. ARTFARM is focused on the ideas of open space and farm preservation, and the rising rate of developers consuming the precious lands in Connecticut is of great concern to the organization. As a result, ARTFARM is a small working organic farm, a theater, and a workshop and retreat center where artists, underserved youth, activists, and simply good people can come for inspiration and renewal.
119 Highland Ave, Middletown, CT 06457, Phone: 860-346-4390
8. Dart Island State Park
© Marina P./stock.adobe.com
The Dart Island State Park, technically located in the town of Middletown, Connecticut, is a recreation area open to the general public. The state park is made up of approximately nineteen acres of undeveloped land on a sandbar island. Dart Island State Park is situated in the middle of the Connecticut River and can only be reached by boat. This sandbar island features a wooded area filled with what are described as “typical river trees,” such as red maple, poplar, and willow. Dart Island State Park has no public facilities, and is often used for fishing, boating, and bird watching.
Middletown, CT 06457, Phone: 860-424-3200
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9. Taino Smokehouse
© Taino Smokehouse
The Taino Smokehouse is a small place with quite a bit of heart focusing on the craft of providing quality barbecue and hospitality. The little smokehouse uses just a few natural simple elements, fire, pepper, and salt to make their barbecue. Taino Smokehouse works hard to offer the purist barbecue anywhere within the Northeast. Hospitality is the main goal of the full-service restaurant, striving to make sure every guest feels like family when they come in. Taino Smokehouse waits until the fire in the pit begins to produce a hot blue smoke before putting the barbecue on the pit.
482 South Main St, Middletown, CT 06457, Phone: 860-358-9828
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10. Middletown, CT: Luce
The Luce Restaurant adds another great restaurant to the town of Middletown, specializing in cuisine inspired by Tuscany with an added flair of a modern American twist. The award-winning dishes served at Luce are made with only the highest quality of ingredients from throughout the world. Along with the main dining room, there is also an outdoor sidewalk cafe and a glass terrace open for dining throughout the year, offering a chance to dine beneath the stars. There is a mahogany bar offering more than eighteen beers available on tap and a rather extensive global wine list.
98 Washington St, Middletown, CT, Phone: 860-344-0222
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11. Greater Middletown Military Museum
© Greater Middletown Military Museum
The Greater Middletown Military Museum was established to honor and remember the many American (and Middletown) military veterans who served to defend their country, from all the way back in Colonial times to the present day. The museum preserves a large collection of donated artifacts related to all branches of the military. The collection includes uniforms and medals, documents, letters, photographs and even weapons. The highlight of the exhibits is a genuine Huey helicopter which saw service in the Vietnam War. Fittingly, the museum is located adjoining the Trees of Honor Memorial Park which honors military personnel who lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
Greater Middletown Military Museum, 200 Walnut Grove Road, Middletown, CT 06457
12. Lady Katherine Cruises
© Lady Katherine Cruises
The beautiful Connecticut River Valley forms the backdrop to your scenic cruise down the Connecticut River aboard Mystique, a luxury cruiser owned and operated by Lady Katherine Cruises. Along the way you can admire the abundant bird life, learn about historic landmarks and see several picturesque locations. Ideal even during inclement weather, Mystique boasts two large air-conditioned dining halls. The company offers a wide variety of public cruises including brunch, lunch and dinner cruises as well as several fun themed cruises including their Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise, the Fall Foliage Cruise, a Sunset “Bubbles” Cruise and many more. Mystique is also available for unique private excursions, parties and weddings.
Lady Katherine Cruises depart from Harbor Park Landing, 80 Harbor Drive, Middletown CT 06457, 860-395-5446
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13. Spoke and Spy Cider Works
© Spoke and Spy Cider Works
After becoming accustomed to enjoying real cider in London, (U.K.), an enterprising pair of cider enthusiasts returned “home” to Middletown and decided to fill the cider gap in the local market. The operation started with small batches brewed at home but has now expanded to include a range of premium ciders. Spoke and Spy use the finest local ingredients from nearby orchards whenever possible. When you visit you can purchase a variety of delicious ciders in bottles, cans and growlers. If you are unfamiliar with cider you can visit their tasting room where several varieties are available on tap. The Cider Shop is open on Fridays and Saturdays only.
Spoke and Spy Cider Works, 180 Johnson St, Middletown, CT 06457, 860-834-4751
14. Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center
The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center is dedicated to bringing live entertainment to Middletown. Just about all genres of the performing arts are covered including music and dance performances, intimate live theatre, poetry readings and much more. After opening in 1989 as the first such entertainment venue in Middletown, the Buttonwood Tree has gone from strength to strength and is today an internationally recognized music venue. The cherry on the top of their achievements is that they manage to bring low-cost or free cultural entertainment to all members of the community and also welcome visitors to come and join in the fun.
Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts, 605 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457,
15. Miner Hills Golf Club
Nestled amid the rolling hills of Westfield, Middletown, the Miner Hills Golf Club is a 9-hole Executive course which offers enjoyable and affordable golf for players of all skill levels. Although the course is a little on the short side, it offers a challenging round for all golf enthusiasts. The course is open for play all year round and is set against a scenic backdrop of woodlands. The golf course has a driving range and a putting green where you can put in some time practicing your skills before your game. Although there is a great patio where you can relax after the game you will need to bring your own drinks.
Miner Hills Golf Club, 80 Miner Hills Dr, Middletown, CT 06457, 860-635-0051
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16. Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial
© Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial
Located adjacent to the Greater Middletown Military Museum, the Trees of Honor Memorial remembers and honors all the fallen Connecticut heroes who made the supreme sacrifice to safeguard America. The poignant and dignified memorial is made up of stone information pillars and a circle of 65 flowering trees (one for each fallen Connecticut hero) surrounding a large reflecting pond. In front of each tree there is a 3-foot high granite monument with details of each member lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Four-legged heroes have not been forgotten and there is also a moving tribute to military working dogs.
Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial, Veteran’s Memorial Park, Middletown, CT 06457
17. Amato’s Toy and Hobby
© Amato’s Toy and Hobby
Established by 14-year old Vincent Amato back in 1940, Amato’s Toy and Hobby shop is something of a Middletown legend. Today the store is still owned and operated by the Amato family and is run by Vincent’s daughter Diane Gervais and her family. You need to set aside a little time to fully appreciate the loaded aisles in this toy and hobby paradise. The inventory includes over 12,000 individually chosen items, all of which are designed to keep both children and adults happy and productive. Highlights include their range of games, dolls, puzzles and crafts as well as a brilliant selection for hobbyists. Don’t miss visiting their amazing Trainland, on the lower level.
Amato’s Toy and Hobby, 395 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457, 860--347-1893
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18. Wadsworth Mansion
Originally the summer residence Colonel Clarens S Wadsworth, the historic Wadsworth Mansion was previously known as Long Hill. Surrounding the mansion, 500 acres of land was converted into a working landscape. The areas closest to the mansion were formally landscaped, while the further reaches contained forests and meadows. Today’s visitors can enjoy getting back to nature by exploring nature trails through the estate. After a massive restoration program, the Mansion was restored to its former glory in 1999 and is once again a popular event venue. You can tour the historic mansion every Wednesday afternoon. The grounds are regularly open to the public for open-air markets, festivals and music concerts.
Wadsworth Mansion, 421 Wadsworth St, Middletown, CT 06457, 860-347-1064
19. Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company
© Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company
Dedicated to brewing exceptional beers that will remain in your memory long after the glass has been emptied, Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company has come a long way since they brewed their first outstanding IPA in 2009. After this first success (named Nummy nummy and still produced today), the company continued doing what they loved best and have been able to pick up a few awards along the way for some of their eclectic brews. When you visit their tap room you can order a tasting flight to see which of these unique beers best pleases your palate. There are 7 brews on tap, 3 available in bottles and 8 available in growlers and cans.
Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company, 180 Johnson Street, Middletown, CT 06457,
20. Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theatre
© Irina Schmidt/stock.adobe.com
Founded in 1975, Oddfellows is the largest year-round youth theatre in Connecticut. If you happen to have a budding performing artist in the family, attending a show at the Oddfellows Theatre is a must on your itinerary. The company produces at least five main-stage shows each year as well as 4 mini-productions. Children from all backgrounds are welcome to attend their creative classes and can start from as young as 2 years old. Most classes are presented after school and they also host a wonderful 5-week summer Children’s Circus camp which culminates in a wonderful outdoor public performance. Please check their website for more details of shows and classes.
Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theatre, 128 Washington Street, Middletown, CT 06457, 860-347-6143
21. Tschudin Chocolates and Confections
© Tschudin Chocolates and Confections
A visit to the Tschudin Chocolate and Confections store is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth. Here you will find a wide range of tempting artisan chocolates to satisfy all tastes and preferences. The chocolates are mainly made from Criollo and Trinitario cocoa cultivars from Central America and the Caribbean, with added local products like honey, mint and herbs. In addition to hand-made chocolates they also produce cakes and ice-cream cakes and host chocolate-making classes. You can start your Tschudin Chocolate experience by enjoying a wonderful cup of hot chocolate before you get down to the serious business of choosing your chocolates.
Tschudin Chocolates and Confections, 100 Riverview Center, Middletown, CT 06457, 860-759-2222
22. Connecticut River Cruise and Charter
Arguably the best way to experience the beauty and serenity of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, a river cruise should be a part of any Middletown itinerary. The Connecticut River Cruise and Charter company offers a selection of scheduled and charter cruises to suit all interests. You and your family and friends are invited to step aboard the 33-foot Blantyre, which leaves from the Canoe Club at Harbor Park. You can enjoy a scenic 1-hour harbor cruise, a sunset cruise or your choice of tailored destination cruises. In fall you have the chance of observing the stunning fall foliage colors from the water.
Connecticut River Cruise and Charter, Canoe Club, 80 Harbor Drive, Middletown, CT 06457, 860-559-6745
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